November 24, 2007 10:07 ET

General Hillier speaks at packed fundraiser for Wounded Warriors

RMC’s Alumni Gala helps the Wounded Warriors Fund and establishes bursary

Attention: City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA RELEASE--(Marketwire - Nov. 24, 2007) - In celebration of Canada's global military contribution, General Rick Hillier, Chief of the Defense Staff addressed a full auditorium of government, corporate, local and military guests at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel yesterday.

The fundraising gala was hosted by The Toronto Branch of the Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada to benefit the Wounded Warriors Fund and establish a bursary to allow members of the Reserve Forces to attend the Royal Military College.

The Royal Military College (RMC) is a national academic institution whose sole purpose is to train Canada's future officers for leadership roles.

The Wounded Warriors Fund was established to aid those brave men and women whose lives are forever changed by injuries sustained while on duty in places like Afghanistan. It contributes quality of life items to soldiers during their time of greatest need.

"When soldiers have been injured and are rushed to a military hospital with just the clothes on their backs, it is then that they are most vulnerable. It's the time when they need encouragement and Canada's support the most," says Captain Wayne Johnson. "We are raising funds on their behalf to provide items like a 'Wounded Warriors Pack' containing items that will help to build the soldiers' morale while on the road to recovery."

The evening's events included the presenting of The Birchall Leadership Award, an award named in honour of Air Commodore Leonard Birchall, a Canadian hero of World War II, to Major Danny McLeod. Major McLeod is a man who has provided inspired leadership in war and peace as an officer and as a great sportsman and coach with links throughout the hockey community and Canadian university sports organizations.

The evenings events were all about showing support for our military.

"It's a great time to be a soldier because we have the support of a nation," says, General Hillier. "The best medicine of all is feeling valued by our countrymen."

Don Cherry, host of Hockey Night in Canada, and one of the events honourary patrons, knows the importance of supporting our troops and the morale boost that it gives. His constant recalling of Canadian military exploits and attention to Canadian peace-keeping missions has been so appreciated he was recently awarded honorary life membership in the Royal Canadian Legion..

Further recognizing Don Cherry's support for the military, General Hillier paused during his speech to award Don Cherry The Canadian Armed Forces Medalion for Distinguished Service.

Don Cherry learned for the first time, that his family had a combined 80 years of Canadian Military service and have been involved since 1890.

"...the troops love General Hillier," says Don Cherry. "He's a leader of leaders."

The RMC College Alumni sponsor events such as this in an effort to garner community backing that demonstrates support and appreciation for the brave men and women who put themselves in the line of fire.

"It was encouraging to see a strong representation from both civilians and corporate Ontario. The support shown through their attendance and donations will be a great morale boost for our military," says Gord Clarke, President RMC Club of Canada - Toronto Branch. "As the need for financial support is great, the RMC alumni are hoping that the public and corporations will continue to make donations during the weeks following this great event."

For donations or more information, visit IN: DEFENCE

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